Flatbed van insurance

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What is a flatbed van?

Flatbed vans typically have a flat, level bed with no roof. A standard flatbed van has no sides, while dropside vans have low, hinged sides that can be dropped for easier loading and unloading.

Flatbed vans are most commonly used by the building trade, for carrying materials and equipment to and from building sites. They’re also useful for carrying unusually shaped or oversized equipment. 

Flatbed vans are generally used for work purposes, so you’ll need to find the right commercial van insurance for the specific build and function of your flatbed van.

What type of insurance will I need for my flatbed van?

If you use your van for work, you’ll need commercial van insurance.

There are two main types of commercial van insurance for flatbed and dropside vans:

  • Carriage of own goods covers your van and any tools, equipment and materials owned by you, your employer or business partner – for business use. It doesn’t cover any goods owned by others.
  • Haulage (carriage of goods for hire and reward). covers your van if you use it to transport goods owned by someone else for payment – for example, furniture removals. It will also cover you for carrying your own business-related goods.

Neither type of policy will allow you to carry passengers for hire or reward, but you’re unlikely to be using your flatbed truck as a taxi.

As flatbed vans are open at the back, most policies won’t cover items that are left in the bed unattended or overnight.

You might also want to consider breakdown cover so you don’t get stranded by the side of the road when you’re in the middle of a job.

Public liability insurance can protect you if, for example, you damage someone else’s property while you’re loading or unloading your van.

What level of cover do I need for my flatbed van?

The minimum level of cover required by law is third-party insurance. If you’re in an accident, this will cover you for damage to another vehicle, or injuries sustained by a third party that are your fault. What it won’t cover is any damage to your own van, your own medical expenses, or protection against theft.  

It’s also worth knowing that third-party insurance isn’t always necessarily the cheapest. It can make sense to compare between levels of cover to see what, if any, difference there is.

A step up from that would be third-party, fire and theft, which offers the same cover as third-party insurance, with added protection against fire damage and theft.  

Comprehensive insurance includes everything you’d expect from a third-party, fire and theft policy, but also can protect you in the event of personal injury, and cover repairs for any damage to your van, even if you were at fault.

Frequently asked questions

Does flatbed van insurance cover tools as standard?

Most standard insurance policies won’t cover the tools and equipment carried in your van. However, tools and equipment insurance can usually be added as an optional extra, or taken out as a separate standalone policy.

Be aware that insurance providers will often require you to take certain security measures, and most won’t cover your tools if you leave them in the van overnight. Check the details of the policy so you know what you need to do.

What else do I need to know about flatbed van insurance?

If you’re using your flatbed van for work, make sure you’ve opted for business use on your policy. Otherwise you could find it’s invalidated when you come to claim. 

If you’ve modified your van in any way – by changing the bodywork, engine or exhaust – you’ll also need to make that clear. That’s because it could be seen as an added risk and could therefore affect the price of your premium. 

If you have more than one work van to insure, you could get a better deal and cut down on your admin time by choosing fleet insurance. This type of insurance allows you to cover multiple vans or trucks under the same policy, normally even if they are different makes and models.

Can I get temporary insurance for a flatbed truck?

Yes, if you don’t want to insure your flatbed truck for a full year, you can find short-term van cover instead. Temporary insurance could cover you for as little as one hour, up to 28 days.

Bear in mind though that it’s a legal requirement to have insurance for your flatbed truck, even if you’re not driving it for a while, unless you officially declare it as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

How does vehicle weight affect flatbed van insurance?

HRMC uses the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of your flatbed truck to determine what type of vehicle it is for road tax purposes. This classification will also affect which type of vehicle insurance you need. 

The MAM, also known as the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), is the maximum allowed weight of your vehicle when it’s loaded up with cargo and passengers. If your flatbed has a MAM of less than 3.5 tonnes, it’s classed as a Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) and you’ll be covered by business van insurance. If your flatbed truck is over 3.5 tonnes, you’ll need specialist insurance cover for a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV). 

You will be able to find your vehicle’s MAM by looking in your owner’s manual, and it is typically also displayed on a number or sticker on your vehicle. It could be under your bonnet or on a door pillar.

Is flatbed van insurance more expensive?

There are a few reasons flatbed van drivers may face a higher insurance premium. Due to their size, flatbed trucks can be more difficult to drive, so they may be seen as more of a risk to insurance providers. Because of the work they do, they’re also potentially more susceptible to accidental damage – after all, construction sites can be dangerous places. And because the back of a flatbed truck is open, they could be more of a target for opportunistic thieves.

Insurance providers will also look at the type of flatbed truck you want to insure, who will be driving it and where.

How do I get a better deal on my flatbed van insurance?

  • Build up a no-claims discount (NCD) – any NCD you’ve already accumulated should be shown on your renewal reminder or cancellation letter from your current insurance provider.
  • Pay a higher voluntary excess – your voluntary excess is how much you choose to pay upfront when you make a claim. Insurance providers usually add a compulsory excess to this, so make sure you can afford both.
  • Keep your van secure – securing your van with an immobiliser and using an approved alarm and tracker could lower your insurance premium.

For more advice, read our guide to getting cheaper van insurance

You don’t need to spend hours trawling the internet to find the right deal. Let us do the hard work for you. Simply enter a few details about you and your vehicle and we’ll show you a list of insurance quotes suitable for flatbed vans.

We compare prices from 30 trusted providers[2], including:

[2] Correct as of October 2022.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a quick and simple van insurance quote, you’ll need:

  • Your vehicle details, including the registration number, or manufacturer, make and model.
  • Your personal details including your age, where you live, your claims history and any driving convictions.
  • Details of any additional drivers you want on the insurance.
  • The estimated annual mileage of your flatbed van.
  • Your current insurance policy details.
Author image Julie Daniels

What our expert says...

“Before you buy van insurance for your flatbed or dropside van, read the terms and conditions for any restrictions that might apply, such as driver age. Policies can vary between insurance providers.

“If you’re unsure of what’s covered and excluded, contact the insurance provider directly for expert advice.”

- Julie Daniels, Insurance expert